Sunday, December 31, 2017

The eve of a New Year

I don't make resolutions but I do review my life from time to time with intentions of improving. Seems natural that having the holidays (soon) behind us and a new number on the calendar heading would prompt a review.

It is time to get back to doing what I enjoy, not merely the things I must do. It is also time to say No when being politely encouraged or rudely pushed. I am not a selfish person and don't intend to become one but I am past worrying about someone else's definition of me.

My mission is to make things because I enjoy doing that, to read more because that has always been a joy, and most importantly, to tell those whom I love that I love them and perhaps make memories for them and me along the way.

If I lived to be 150, I still wouldn't make all the things that interest me much less read all the books that I could find to read. Life, no matter how long you are graced to be on this planet, is not long enough to be stuck in a negative rut. I don't feel that I've been in one, but I've seen way too many lately.

Onward and upward, away from the negative Nellies and Nicks I go. I was challenged by a friend to find a positive word to use as a motto for the new year, and the word should begin with the first letter of my name. Since I go by three names, I have three words.

C is for Charlene and Create

G is for Gigi and Gratitude

K is for Knitty and Kindness

I should probably a find nickname for myself that begins with an H because Humor and Happiness will hopefully always be with me.

Cheers to 2018 being healthier, happier and easier for everyone!

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Halloween Cards

Better late than never when it comes to recording Halloween cards that I made this year. This first one was actually a combo birthday and anniversary card. The witch and cat are a Tim Holtz die for Sizzix,  Witchcraft #662386

The Boo! cards were done with Stampin Up's large letter dies. The treat bag between them is a die from Lawn Fawn, Goodie Bag LF771

I wrote about this next card in detail here. This card used dies from Karen Burniston.
The ghost and word with Boo on a banner with a spider hanging from it are from Karen Burniston. The letters that open on the front of this card are from Hinged Alphabet by Julie Ebersole for Essentials by Ellen (Ellen Hutson),  EEDIEJ-079-17.

I used the same paper that lined the inside of the black card to make the front of this shaker card. I used the punched circle on the inside greeting of the card. The black cat is a die that matches Simon Says Stamp's Creepy Cute stamp set.

 This die is also Tim Holtz for Sizzix, Haunted House 662378
The paper cuts inside are also from Tim Holtz. The mechanism that makes them pop up in the center is the Karen Burniston Flower Pot Pop Up set, # 1010

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Grenache Shawl

This shawl is named Grenache. It can be found in Berroco Summer Silk book #384. The designer is Alison Green. The pattern called for 5 balls of Berroco Summer Silk yarn. I had to order a sixth in order to finish, and my gauge was correct.

For a month now, I have planned to have another either wear the shawl so I could photograph it or take pictures for me. That has happened so here are selfies.  You'll have to trust me that the shawl looks better in person and with something besides a T-shirt on under it, even if the shirt's graphic is about knitting.

The yarn is a 45% silk, 43% cotton, and 12% nylon. Each ball is 50 grams, 240 yards. It feels heavenly. I will definitely use this yarn again.

I have made many smaller shawl (shawlettes?) that are colorful accents and may keep a bit of chill off if you're looking for function, but this shawl's size is wonderful is you are interested in a truly functional piece. 

The finished piece could almost have been worn without blocking. I pinned it to foam blocks and lightly steamed it overnight. 

The shawl begins with a garter stitch triangle that is most clearly seen in the first photo. This rolls over when you wear it as shown above or can just become part of the draped fabric if you wear it as shown in one view of the printed pattern.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Heard it's been ruff

A friend's husband is recuperating from a hip replacement and fractured pelvis after a work related accident. I'm wincing just typing that. Sometimes a card for a man can be a bit of a challenge. Fortunately, this man is an animal lover and the dogs in Art Impressions Doggy Kisses Set were perfect for this card. Sentiments are from the same set.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Ahoy, Matey!

Another family birthday party for a young boy was held yesterday. I give my great nephews and great niece money on their birthdays, not because I am lazy but because cash can be used for whatever their hearts desire. No duplicate games that require an exchange or refund, no incorrect clothing sizes, and no what-was-she-thinking-when-she-bought-this looks!

I've had Lawn Fawn's Ahoy, Matey stamp and die set for a while but hadn't used it yet. My design idea is not original, I've seen many variations of this all over Pinterest.

I used black ink on Kraft cardstock, aged a bit with Distress Inks in a few shades of brown. The flaps were made with a Lawn Fawn's Lift The Flap die set. The dotted lines were done with a Copic multiliner.

The die cut images under the flaps and on the inside were colored with Copic markers. 

I don't have a better view of the cash slot but I will explain what I did to create it. The image that you see above is one piece of cardstock with the largest flap from the die set used. I used another piece of paper under this flap to make the cash pocket. I used an oval die (Oval Word Frame from Die-Namics) to cut the opening. I glued this under the Happy Birthday flap piece, then used a tape runner to glue this assembly inside the card. I was careful to make the line of adhesive narrow on the bottom edge to allow the cash to be tucked inside, a line of tape along both short sides, and a double row of tape over the top opening so that it wouldn't pull off the card base when the cash was removed. 

The card was well received by the 8-year-old recipient who felt the envelope before opening the card and announced that it felt like money. He knows me well!

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Halloween card using Karen Burniston dies

Nothing like a new die set arriving in the mail to get me to make a card two months before it is needed. I had so much fun with the earlier Karen Burniston that I wrote about 10 days ago (here) , I ordered her House & Fence Pop-Up set #1015, Halloween Scene #1014, and Halloween Elements #1013. I also bought Winter Charms #1018 which is going to be used soon.

Whoa....thinking about a making a holiday card this far before Christmas?  This isn't like me!

I'm not paid to sing the praises of these dies, I'm just here to say they really do work well. Both the printed instructions and videos on her website, Karen Burniston, will guide you through the assembly. I'm not going explain what she explains so well, I will just comment on what I've done.

First off, the front of the card was done after the inside was finished. The card stock was cut at 4.25" x 11", scored at 5.5 inches. The gray hillside seen below was cut on a 3.75" wide of gray paper. I smudged it with a dauber and black ink. The black fence is two pieces, slightly overlapped. I used Tombow glue to adhere the fence and tape runner for the hillside. The spiderweb is a much lighter gray, almost white. The spider was cut from black paper. His eyes are Nuvo Drops in yellow. I attached a thick but small diameter dimensional under the spider and colored the white sides that might show with a black Sharpie marker. Before attaching him, I used Glossy Accents over the entire spider and let him dry completely before placing him. After figuring out where I wanted him, I used a ruler and pencil to draw a line from the spiderweb, then went over the line with a fine nib silver pen before attaching the spider. I used clear Wink of Stella on the web.

As you open the card, this is what you see:

The sky color began with lavender paper and 5 different shades of Distress Oxide ink over it, Black Soot being the last color blended over the paper. A light spritz of water made the mottled effect. I had paper towel handy and heat set the inks when I liked what I had. Card stock won't handle a lot of water well so the key words here are "light spritz". Because I worried about the paper buckling, I used Skor-Tape but regular tape runner or glue would probably have been fine.

The moon was a 1.5" circle punched from an orangish-yellow scrap and has some orange smudges on it. The eyes of the bat, bird, and the doorknob are all dimensional due to the use of Nuvo Drops. the house also has black smudges and some cracks in it, cracks done with a Copic Multiliner.

The platform assembly is 4" wide. I cut a piece of light brown paper 4" wide and tore off the bottom half. The stamped greeting is from Simon Says Stamp (SSS101444 Trick or Treat).  The gray hands are cut from the same paper as the spiderweb. I just liked them so they are where they are, just to draw attention to the greeting.

The ghost just did not photograph well. I guess craft ghosts are just like the real ones in not being photogenic. The ghost was cut on Vertigo Pebbles by Imagine Crafts. The card did take a while to complete, but a lot of my time was experimenting with inks and trying out placement. I plan to make another card very similar to this and the background is already done.

One last picture, shot from overhead to show the spacing between elements inside the card.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Seawall Scarf

I recently finished this scarf and I am very happy with how it turned out. The name of the pattern is Seawall. If you have a Ravelry account (a free website if you are not already registered), the pattern can be found here. The pattern designer is Louise Zass-Bangham.

More photos are available at the Ravelry site. These are mine:

This was an easy scarf to knit. It calls for one main color and 5 additional accent colors. The scarf begins with that long column of colored rectangles. When it reached 5 feet, I bound off and picked up stitches along one long side. Yes, it was a lot of stitches but the pattern tells you how many to pick up in each color block and how many at beginning and end. You knit a few rows in the main color, charcoal in my scarf, the place those stitches on a cable holder.

You pick up the same number of stitches on the opposite side and knit to your desired width. Directions explain how to create a turning row and why you will knit a few more rows in your main color before beginning the stripe sequence for what I think of as the back side of the scarf. I love those skinny stripes and will probably make a scarf completely out of those stripes. The "back side" is no less lovely than the front of the scarf and what a stash buster this would be! 

Once the back side is the same width as the front, you are ready for a 3-needle bind off. You pick up stitches on the short ends of the scarf, knit a few rows and do a 3-needle bind off on both ends. The scarf is a long tube that is closed on three sides by this bind off method, requiring no hand sewing to finish. 

The yarns I used were a combination of Swans Island washable merino wool and Rowan Super Fine Merino. 

Money gifts

I never give our great nephews or great niece a simple check or cash in a card on their birthdays. Search for "Money as gifts" in the side bar under Search This Blog to find other examples of what I've done in the past.

This presentation took some time, but I had fun with it. Josh, the birthday boy, was 12 this past February. I gave him a box of straws. Unfortunately, the photos of the wrapped and initially opened box of straws have disappeared. The box contained over 60 drinking straws, all painted red, but only some had money in them. 

First I tried rolling up dollar bills and fitting them into a regular plastic drinking straw. This was really difficult. At my husband's suggestion, I rolled them up tightly around a wooden skewer and inserted them into straws from McDonald's and Wendy's because they are wider in diameter. Don't ask why I had this many straws on hand. You'll think I'm a Coke addict. 

Once I had the bills inside of straws, I wasn't happy that they were visible. I wanted Josh to inspect every straw, not easily see which ones had the cash. 

There was only one thing to do, right?  Paint them!  Since the straws have a red stripe, red was the logical color. I put skewers back into the straws and placed the painted ones over shoe box lids to dry. Once dry, I removed the skewers and placed all of the straws and lots of shredded paper in a large box to wrap as a gift. We have a paper shredder at the house and I used wrapping paper that I did not like to create the filler.

Josh enjoyed the challenge of finding the cash straws and working them out of their confinement. 

And for the record, I'm not a Coke addict. I'm a Diet Coke aficionado.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Karen Burniston pop up dies

I have attempted this type of pop up card in the past, all done by measuring, scoring and cutting manually. I only had fair results until I saw these dies while looking for something else online. Oh boy, do I love using Karen Burniston's pop up dies! Visit her website (here) to see samples, watch the how-to videos and shop.

The first card is for my brother-in-law. The die set is Twisted Panel Pop Up Die set, #1009. The stamp set used is Birthday Laughs #1 by Catherine Scanlon Designs.
As you begin to open it, you see part of the mechanism that makes this work. A simple cut of the green layer is done with a die, and the folded green arms are another die cut that are folded and glued into place.
The card, fully open, is so cute and magical to those make cards themselves. I love that they think I worked so hard. In reality, I shopped and followed instructions!
The next two photos are my attempt at showing you the mechanism from different angles.  The four black panels holding the stamped images on white paper are part of the die set. It really is easy to assemble following the video tutorial.

I also bought the Flower Pot Pop Up Die set, #1010, but don't have a finished card from that set yet. I did use the floral dies and flower pots from that set in conjunction with the Twisted Panel Pop Up Die set to create this card.
The Happy Birthday greeting is a new die from Stampin' Up. The papers are various ones from my stash. I used some Tim Holtz Distress Oxide ink on the flower pots to age them a bit.
The bee was cut once out of yellow paper and once out of black. The stripes and black head were done with a black marker. I sandwiched a length of wire from a twist tie between the two bee shaped pieces, the attached the opposite end to a piece of scrap paper and glued that to the backside of one of the pots.
I haven't added an inside message yet but I think I will make a plant stick (stake?) that will say "best wishes" and my name and add that to one of the pots on the right.
I think this die set is going to get a lot of use. I'm already looking at another one that is calling my name.